The Role of International Service-Learning in Facilitating Undergraduate Students’ Self-Exploration

Min Yang*, Lillian Yun Yung Luk, Beverley Joyce Webster, Albert CHAU, Carol Hok Ka Ma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the role of international service-learning (ISL) in facilitating undergraduates’ exploration of their conceptions of self (i.e., self-exploration). Conception of self refers to the use of values to define one’s role in a social/cultural group or organization and in society, and to determine current actions and future commitments. ISL is intentionally structured activities involving students in social services in overseas settings. Existing research underscores the importance of inducting students to other-oriented (showing care and empathy for others) values in facilitating their self-exploration through ISL. Interviews with 48 students in Hong Kong who participated in ISL revealed qualitative differences in students’ conceptions of self related to moral, cultural, and leadership values. The findings highlight the need to guide students to critically self-reflect on their values and actions, and build reciprocal relationships with others. Implications for international educators and service-learning practitioners to support students’ self-exploration in ISL are proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)416-436
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Studies in International Education
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Education

User-Defined Keywords

  • cross-border delivery of education
  • globalization and international higher education
  • internationalization of higher education
  • internationalization of the curriculum
  • mobility of students and academic staff


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